For greater appetite control, choose whole foods over liquid calories. Whey protein is greater for boosting protein intake while reducing hunger hormones such as ghrelin. Choose low energy density foods such as fruits and vegetables to reduce calories. Increase your intake of soluble fiber to reduce appetite.



  • The best diet for appetite control should include high protein and fiber for fat loss.
  • Choose low-caloric density foods for weight loss
  • A low-calorie-density meal plan will reduce appetite and cut calories.
  • High protein and fiber are the power couple for fat loss.


Most people dieting will pay strict attention to calories and macros but forget about dietary fiber and energy density. If you wonder which nutrient has the greatest energy density, it’s fat!

Fat has 9 kcal/ per gram and is the most energy-dense component of food, providing more than twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates or protein (4 kcal/g). Dietary fiber has been shown to regulate appetite and reduce body weight. Fiber is also essential for overall beneficial gut bacteria.

Fiber is essential for health, but fiber includes parts of plant food that you can’t digest and are passed thru the intestines. Foods high in fiber are generally low-calorie foods. Not all ingested food is completely absorbed, with approximately 5–10% of gross energy lost as fecal matter and through urinary excretion.

The recommended daily fiber for adults is between 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. The many health benefits of fiber include normal bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, weight management (i.e., lose belly fat) and feeling full, and reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Check out the how much fiber per day to lose weight calculator (i.e., fiber calculator).

Dietary fiber reduces caloric consumption by increasing satiety and reducing meal size. Not all fibers are the same. Fibers can be broken down into two types: soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers or viscous fibers dissolve in water in the gut and are associated with stable blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.


In humans, a daily intake of at least 5 g of soluble fiber, particularly from whole-grain foods and fruits, reduces the presence of metabolic syndrome in patients with type 2 diabetes by 54%.(1) Insoluble fiber does not blend with water, increases stool bulk, and promotes material movement through the intestines.

Different dietary fibers have different effects on appetite and weight control. Diet fiber is recommended to come from whole food sources because they contain a wide range of bioactive ingredients compared to dietary supplements.

For those that hate vegetables, consuming a fiber supplement for weight loss, however, you are missing out on all the beneficial anti-oxidants in food. No fiber supplement is better than how foods. There are even fiber gummy bears; it’s better than nothing.

Dietary fibers that are classified as more viscous (e.g., pectin, β-glucans, and guar gum) reduce appetite more often than those less viscous fibers (i.e., wheat bran, rice bran, etc.), which also applied to acute energy intake (69% vs. 30%).(2) In a 2019 review of the literature examining the effects of different fibers on reducing energy intake.

Different Types of Fiber

Guar gum showed the greatest effect in reducing energy intake, followed by β-glucan, alginate, polydextrose, and pectin.(2) The researchers concluded that guar gum (5 grams) be used with other soluble fibers (i.e., pectin, β-glucan, and/or polydextrose) to reduce energy intake and increase satiety hormones.

Viscous soluble dietary fibers may also have an added effect on reducing appetite by increasing satiety-related hormones. Viscous fibers are fermented in the colon and increase the secretion of various appetite-regulating peptides (PYY, GLP-1, and CCK) throughout the colon. They are associated with increased perceived satiety and reduced food intake.(3, 4) Viscous fibers act like appetite control pills in the body by stimulating appetite suppression.

Sources of viscous fibers:

Glucomannan, beta-glucans, pectins, guar gum, and psyllium. Good whole-food sources include barley, legumes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, oats, and flax seeds.

Prebiotic fiber fibers are also undigestible but can help promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and keep the digestive system healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). Prebiotics can influence such things as reducing inflammation and enhancing the immune system. Foods rich in prebiotics are garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, apples, and whole oats.

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Low-energy-density foods can help control hunger while consuming fewer foods high in calories.


Another benefit of high-fiber foods is that they are high-volume foods with very low energy density. Energy density is the amount of energy or calories in a particular food weight and is generally presented as the number of calories in a gram (kcal/g). For example, 100 grams of broccoli is 34 calories, whereas 100 grams of granola is 526 calories.

It has been recommended that people increase foods with a low caloric density, such as fruits and vegetables. Low-energy-density foods can lead to a spontaneous reduction in food intake. Low-energy-density foods can help control hunger while consuming fewer foods high in calories.

low calorie density, foods with low caloric density, low calorie density meal plan, low caloric density foods, calorie density calculator, energy density vs nutrient density


Keto and low-carb diets reportedly offer a benefit: dieters often eat more low-caloric density foods like salads and vegetables. People on keto diets consume more vegetables and fiber-rich foods to shed belly fat. Americans enjoy dining at fast-food restaurants, known for their high-energy-density foods. Not surprisingly, frequent dining at these restaurants correlates with higher obesity rates and a preference for high-energy-density foods.(5)

When you’re on a diet, a straightforward strategy is to eat more low-caloric density foods and fewer high-energy-density foods. For instance, researchers conducted a study where they instructed participants to cut down on fats and eat more water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. These participants ended up eating a larger quantity of food. By the study’s conclusion, those who ate more water-rich fruits experienced more weight loss and felt less hungry than those who only reduced their fat intake.

Researchers instructed one group of participants to lower the energy density of their diets by eating more water-rich foods and cutting down on fats. This group lost 33% more weight than another group who only received advice to cut down on fats. (6) Check out the calorie density calculator to see foods and their energy density.

Here is a list of low-cal recipes:

low calorie density, foods with low caloric density, low calorie density meal plan, low caloric density foods, calorie density calculator, energy density vs nutrient density

For greater appetite control, choose whole foods over liquid calories.


The following factors were ranked the highest for reducing energy intake:

  • High-protein foods
  • Lower consumption of liquid calories
  • Lower energy-density foods
  • Lower variety of foods
  • Lower glycemic index foods

Interestingly, lower energy density significantly reduced total calories than the amount of protein consumed. When trying to lose weight, choose the foods whose nutrient has the lowest energy density.


A mix of factors like lower energy density, high protein intake, and fewer liquid calories predicts calorie reduction more effectively than just one factor, such as high protein alone.(7) When researchers compared diets with reduced energy density, increased fiber, or both, they found that combining reduced energy density with fiber led to better weight loss results than either factor by itself.(8)

In a different study, researchers assigned participants to diets with the same calorie content. One group followed a high-energy diet (>2.5 kcal/g), while the other followed a low-energy diet (<.8 kcal/g). The group on the low-energy diet experienced more weight loss, fat loss, a decrease in appetite, and increased motivation compared to the high-energy diet group.(9)

Protein Studies on Appetite Control

In another study, subjects were given high, medium, and low-energy-density foods but similar calories. Subjects consistently ate more calories when consuming a higher energy-density diet than in the medium and low-density diet. This suggests that low-energy-density foods can reduce caloric intake while dieting.(10)

The final study that emphasizes using a combination of low energy, high fiber, high protein diet was a study that told obese subjects to eat as much as they want. The subjects were assigned to a low-satiating diet or a high-satiating diet. Again, they were told to eat as much as they wanted and not to restrict calories.

The group that consumed the high-satiating diet (i.e., low energy density, high fiber, high protein, high micronutrient density) lost more fat, body weight, and greater satiety. The most shocking part of the study was the control diet had a 44.1% dropout rate, and the satiating diet had an 8.6% dropout rate!(11)

A similar study design had overweight men and women not counting calories but were told to eat lean protein and increase their fiber intake. After twelve weeks, 93% of the participants enjoyed the diet, and 92% did not feel hungry. The average decrease in calories throughout the day was about -265.5 kcals and the subjects lost about 2.2% body weight.(12) Thus, eating high-satiating foods can be an alternative to counting calories for losing weight.

Examples of very low-energy-density foods are lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and apples.


    • The best diet for appetite control should include whole foods over liquid calories.
    • Whey protein is greater for boosting protein intake while reducing hunger hormones such as ghrelin.
    • Choose low-energy-density foods such as fruits and vegetables to reduce calories.
    • Increase your intake of soluble fiber to reduce appetite.


1.       Wanders AJ, van den Borne JJ, de Graaf C, Hulshof T, Jonathan MC, Kristensen M, et al. Effects of dietary fibre on subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2011;12(9):724-39.

2.       Salleh SN, Fairus AAH, Zahary MN, Bhaskar Raj N, Mhd Jalil AM. Unravelling the Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibre Supplementation on Energy Intake and Perceived Satiety in Healthy Adults: Evidence from Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised-Controlled Trials. Foods. 2019;8(1):15.

3.       Juvonen KR, Purhonen AK, Salmenkallio-Marttila M, Lähteenmäki L, Laaksonen DE, Herzig KH, et al. Viscosity of oat bran-enriched beverages influences gastrointestinal hormonal responses in healthy humans. J Nutr. 2009;139(3):461-6.

4.       El Khoury D, Cuda C, Luhovyy BL, Anderson GH. Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2012;2012:851362.

5.       Bhutani S, Schoeller DA, Walsh MC, McWilliams C. Frequency of Eating Out at Both Fast-Food and Sit-Down Restaurants Was Associated With High Body Mass Index in Non-Large Metropolitan Communities in Midwest. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2018;32(1):75-83.

6.       Ello-Martin JA, Roe LS, Ledikwe JH, Beach AM, Rolls BJ. Dietary energy density in the treatment of obesity: a year-long trial comparing 2 weight-loss diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(6):1465-77.

7.       Urban LE, McCrory MA, Rasmussen H, Greenberg AS, Fuss PJ, Saltzman E, et al. Independent, additive effects of five dietary variables onAd Libitumenergy intake in a residential study. Obesity. 2014;22(9):2018-25.


8.       Roberts SB, Urban LE, Das SK. Effects of dietary factors on energy regulation: consideration of multiple- versus single-dietary-factor models. Physiol Behav. 2014;134:15-9.

9.       Buckland NJ, Camidge D, Croden F, Lavin JH, Stubbs RJ, Hetherington MM, et al. A Low Energy-Dense Diet in the Context of a Weight-Management Program Affects Appetite Control in Overweight and Obese Women. The Journal of nutrition. 2018;148(5):798-806.

10.       Bell EA, Castellanos VH, Pelkman CL, Thorwart ML, Rolls BJ. Energy density of foods affects energy intake in normal-weight women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;67(3):412-20.

11.       Arguin H, Tremblay A, Blundell JE, Després J-P, Richard D, Lamarche B, et al. Impact of a non-restrictive satiating diet on anthropometrics, satiety responsiveness and eating behaviour traits in obese men displaying a high or a low satiety phenotype. British Journal of Nutrition. 2017;118(9):750-60.

12.       Zhang L, Pagoto S, Olendzki B, Persuitte G, Churchill L, Oleski J, et al. A nonrestrictive, weight loss diet focused on fiber and lean protein increase. Nutrition. 2018;54:12-8.

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